Posted: 10/11/2009 16:55:30
I have considered purchasing a 1971 Pitts S1-S which has been sitting in storage 10 years or more. Obviously, the aircraft would have to be inspected by an A&P. Obvious issues are the wings which need new fabric and the engine (Lycoming O-360 A4A) which has not been operated while in storage. No preventative measures were taken to prevent rust while stored.
I have two questions. 1) What kind of time commitment and expense is involved in recovering the wings with Ceconite? 2) More importantly, is there a possibility that the engine is still safely usable assuming it passes inspection or after 10 years would I simply have to count on rebuilding it (which means I would walk and find another airplane as I'm not particularly mechanically inclined)?
I would appreciate someones input on this.
Posted: 10/11/2009 18:37:16
It's possible to get lucky with the engine. Have a look at the dipstick, is there any rust on that? That can give you some insight into what's going on inside. Can you get you hands on a borescope to have a look inside at the cylinder walls, etc?
What kind of storage and climate has it been sitting in? Heated hangar, or unheated? Dry or humid climate? That can have a fairly big effec.
It's probably a good thing that it hasn't been run - - better to leave it sit than to periodically run the engine if you're not flying it.
Posted: 10/11/2009 22:02:15
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I'm in Utah and the airplane is located in Orange County, Florida where humidity is a factor. Based on pictures of the aircraft, it appears to be stored in a wooden hangar. I hadn't thought of looking at the dipstick but that would seem to be a good indicator. Before tendering an offer, I would definitely have it borescoped by an A&P. If the engine has to be overhauled I would be much better off paying more for a better airplane.
Posted: 10/15/2009 20:51:03
I heard a quote for $34,000 to overhaul a 4 cylinder aircraft engine this year at Sun & Fun. Whatever the final price, it will certainly be substantial.
My sense of fabric and coating costs today is that you should be able to re-cover this aircraft yourself, for a cost of approximately $5,000.
Having written that you should know that I restored a Sonerai II in two years. There were about $7000 in parts and materials costs that I had not anticipated. Admittedly I worked as an aircraft inspector for a lifetime and like to have my own aircraft right. I found over 90 items that needed attention. Repairing them has saved my hide a few times.
Would I do it again? Yes I would. I'm flying again now after a hiatus of 20 years and really enjoy it.